Dedicated to: Atty. Arthur Johnson of the Johnson & Sessay Law Firm for services as a public defender
Prosecutor Samson Weah regarded the witness with a sympathetic eye.
“What happened afterward, Joe Boyd?”
“He told me that if he had his way, I would be dead.”
“Because he said I was following his wife and that night we had a quarrel where I sustained an injury on my right hand.”
“Did you follow his wife?”
The prosecutor’s smile was triumphant, and sweeping his head away from the spectators, said, “Boyd, what happened on the first weekend of May?”
“I met the defendant Dorothy Jones when I came out of a pharmacy store.
“She said she wanted to speak with me. I went closer to her and she said she had lost money to buy food for her son and wanted me to help if I could.
“I thought about it and felt the need to help since she had approached me on the issue. It was not that I was really interested in spending money that easy.”
A murmur swept across the courtroom.
The prosecutor said, “What happened next, Boyd?”
With still a smile at the corner of his mouth, the witness said, “I pulled out a wad of bills and took out Ld500 and handed it to her.
“She told me how great she was to have met me, and even explained that since I moved in the area, she had had some admiration for me.”
“Like a secret admirer?”
The witness smiled, and said, “That kind.”
“How did you feel then?”
“Well,” the witness said, “I’m a man and when someone is admiring me, particularly a woman and secretly, I felt rather good.”
The prosecutor could not fail to smile.
“She did suggest something to you, and there were a couple of juicy letters from her?”
Folding his arms, the witness said, “Yes, she gave me the indication she was interested in a form of relationship.”
“Did you know she was married?”
“No, but I knew she had a child.”
“Ok,” the prosecutor said, “then what happened?”
“I told her I was surprised that a beautiful woman like her was still a spinster.
“She smiled and said she was waiting for the right man.
“When I asked her about the father of her child, she played my question down and said rather that it was a mistake she made in her life.”
“Did you really believe her?”
“Somehow yes,” the witness said, “for I did not put any word in her mouth.
“I then suggested to her that since she was a single woman and I was also a single man, I think the chemistry was perfect.”
The courtroom once again exploded into a mild laughter, and Judge Thomas Moore responded with his gavel to restore calm, with the statement, “The Court will not hesitate to hold any spectator contempt and therefore the court insists that spectators must behave as proceedings continue.”
“Thanks, Your Honor,” the prosecutor said, and turned to the witness: “With a correct chemistry, you decided to do what?”
With a smile wedged at the corner of his mouth, the witness shifted his position. “We planned to meet and that same evening, we met at a local drinking spot.
“Later I realized that a man who had come with her identified himself as Willie Jones, was, in fact, the man she was living with.”
“What did Willie Jones tell you about his relationship with Dorothy Jones?”
The witness hesitated. “He told me he was her brother.”
“Tell the court what occurred one week after your meeting.”
The witness adjusted his position and swept his head back. “He came to me with a request for USD500.”
“The decedent, Willie Jones’ body was found three hours after his visit to your house, did you engage him in a fight?”
“I did not engage him in a fight, though he ranted and threatened to make trouble for me.”
“You met the defendant the same night of her husband’s murder?”
“Yes, she said she had by accident knocked her husband’s head with a club and she thought he might be dead.
“She told me that now that he was dead, it was time for us to make his death to appear as if it happened during an armed robbery.”
“What did you do next?”
“I told her it could be that way but I felt if I refuse her anything, she could kill me.”
“So it was the defendant, in this case, meaning Mrs. Dorothy Jones who confessed to you that she had struck her husband’s head with a club and she thought he might be dead?”
“Mr. Boyd, did you kill Willie Jones or did you have any reason to have him dead?”
“No,” the witness said, “I did not.” Turning to defense, the prosecutor said, “Your Witness.”
“Dorothy came to you with the information she had struck her husband’s head with a club and she thought he might be dead?”
“What was the reason she came to you?”
“I don’t know.”
“It was not because when the couple left the club the night Mr. Jones was murdered,” the lawyer said, “you followed them and struck him from behind?”
“It was not also because when you approached Mrs. Jones and she told you that she was already married you said you could find a way for you to get together?”
“You had a quarrel with Mr. Jones?”
The witness shifted his position. “Actually, this quarrel had taken place a week before he died. At the time I was a little drunk.”
“What was the reason for the quarrel?”
“I wanted to know why he had accused me of going after his wife.”
“At the night of your fight, you sustained an injury and made some threatening remarks, against him.”
“I don’t remember what I must have said.”
“But suppose someone who was there came to testify that you made threatening statements against him?”
“Well, in that case, I would say might have made some statements to that effect.”
“But you remember that you violently attacked him from behind?”
“I remember he wanted to fight me and I resisted.”
“Because he did not tell you why you allegedly claimed he said about your involvement with his wife?” The prosecutor was on his feet.
“Your Honor, I think counsel is pulling the wrong strings about an incident that occurred a week before the murder. He is trying to confuse the witness.”
Judge Thomas Moore who had been following the proceedings, lowered his glasses beyond his nose and glared at the defense counsel. “Does counsel have any explanation?”
Jason Doe frowned. “Your Honor, the situation demands a careful discovery of information from the witness on what could be the inherent motive behind the eventual murder of the decedent.
“I suspect a reason that this witness can provide to the resolution of this case.”
“Very well,” Judge Moore said, “you may continue.”
“The night after the incident,” the lawyer said, “the defendant wanted your complicity in the murder of her husband.”
“And it was not because of any reason?”
“She had her own reason,” the witness said. “She was apparently interested in a relationship with me.” A low murmur swept across the court, but Jason Doe ignored it and pressed forward:
“You testified that during your brief contact there were some juicy letters?”
“Like all love affairs,” the witness said coldly, “I received letters from her.”
“And she received some letters from you?”
The lawyer strolled to the defense table, and searching through some documents extracted at least three of them, and returned to the witness.
“Mr. Boyd,” the lawyer said with a grin, “I should remind you that you’re under oath and therefore we are going to read a couple of letters that you sent to Mrs. Jones.”
Suddenly, the witness’ composure changed dramatically and he began to perspire so profusely that Judge Moore intervened and called the two counsels to a brief meeting where Jason Doe informed him that the case had reached its climax with the evidence in his possession. The next twenty-five minutes the clerk, assisted by a court-appointed doctor, went to the witness’ assistance. When he was finally able to continue with the trial, the moment Jason Doe stood up to continue his cross-examination, the witness said he felt as if he had been crushed under the weight of circumstances.
“Do you remember some of the information in your letters to the defendant, Mr. Boyd?”
In a low tone of voice, he replied, “I can remember some.”
The lawyer raised one of the letters to get the witness a glimpse of his handiwork. “You wrote this letter three days before the murder occurred, and I’m going to hand the letter over to the judge.”
The judge grabbed the first of three letters from the extended hand of the lawyer, and smiling ran his eyes through it, and handed it to the clerk to read it.
Judge Moore asked the witness if he had anything to say about the letter before it was read, and the witness said being a funny man, he had the habit of writing letters to women with “some crazy ideas about killing their husbands that I did not mean to do anything stupid in reality.”
“But you wrote such letters?” Judge Moore said, gazing directly at the witness.
“I might have.”
“And I am assuming you take responsibility for what you wrote in the past, whether good or bad?”
“But a joke is a joke because mistakes are allowed to be made,” the witness said.
The judge considered his reply for a moment. “Who said that mistakes are allowed to be made when we are dealing with the law?”
The judge then turned to the defendant whose tear-filled eyes spoke nothing but the humiliation of having been accused of murdering the man she had come to love and cared about.
“Look at the defendant,” Judge Moore instructed the witness, “and tell me what your lies have made her?”
The witness began to fuss with his hands and said under his breath that he was sorry. The judge lifted his gaze and shook the letter in his hand at the witness, “Uncontrolled jealousy has doomed you.”
“You were so desperate that you allowed your desire for the defendant to lead you to commit a heinous crime like murder and as a result destroyed a model family, and the law is interested to know how you, could succumb to such destruction.
“This Court takes exceptional interest in the final resolution of this case when it comes to trial and hopes that we will find satisfaction and condemn violence as the last resort to get, for example, power, love, and riches.”
But Judge Moore’s poignant final remark was too telling to ignore, “The explosions of human passion bring to light the darker elements of man’s nature, as this case has revealed and as a result, its adjudication demands the highest understanding of human nature.”
Jason Doe laughed.